August 28, 2014
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – The New York City Comptroller’s office has received only 141 of over 500 expected private contracts for Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) services. No private UPK class can open their doors without a complete, NYC Comptroller compliance review of the facility and program. To date over 70 percent of UPK contracts have not submitted requests for a Comptroller evaluation.
Prior to the opening of a UPK Certified childhood program, a compliance review is required. This precludes teachers hired and students attending. With city schools beginning instruction September 4th, its likely that many UPK programs will not be in-session the first day of school.
“My office will continue to work expeditiously to review and register contracts as we receive them, in accordance with our Charter-mandated responsibility,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “Universal Pre-K holds the promise of transforming our City’s educational process, which is why we have to get it right. But we cannot sacrifice safety in the name of expediency.”
Among the contracts reviewed to date, the Comptroller’s Office has uncovered several significant problems. Some are directly tied to the safety and security of children. The Comptroller has uncovered issues of concern ranging from staff hired with criminal records to vendors that have failed to require screening of personnel by the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Mistreatment. In addition, many contracts have had errors, missing permits, and inconsistent counts of students. Some UPK directors are not up to date with filing requirements and in need of assistance to complete the process.